Steps to Take When Preparing for Divorce

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Steps to Take When Preparing for Divorce

How to Plan for a Divorce

Are you wondering what to do to prepare for divorce? Aside from the issue of custody, most divorces revolve around financial security. The key financial parts of a divorce are the division of the property, alimony, and child support. Divorces are expensive, so it will be in your best interest to be fully prepared by taking these steps to prepare for divorce. Divorces can take months or even more than a year to resolve. While the divorce is pending, you may not have much money coming in – so it helps to have saved as much as you can, budget properly, and avoid making any major financial decisions until your divorce is resolved.

There are many steps to take when preparing for divorce. A few financial tips  include the following:

Consult an Attorney

If you want to learn how to protect your money during divorce, the best step you can take is to consult with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible. An experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer will review your finances, explain your rights and options, and help direct you on solidifying your financial situation.

Prepare a Budget

As soon as you anticipate that you will be seeking a divorce or your spouse may be seeking a divorce, you should prepare a new budget to see how you can survive a divorce financially. The budget should identify all your sources of income on a weekly and monthly basis.

You should itemize all of your expenses such as the mortgage or rent, food, health care costs, transportation, utility bills, entertainment expenses, and other expenses. The budget should also include items such as car and home repair costs and the cost for vacations and holidays. You’ll need to itemize these expenses for you and for your children.

Gather Financial Records

A critical step to take when preparing for divorce is to gather all your financial records. This includes the following documentation:

  • Identify all of your assets such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles, personal property, and other assets. You should know which accounts are in your name, which accounts are in your husband’s name, and which accounts are in both names.
  • Identify which credit cards you have, how much is owed on each card – and whether you or you and your spouse owe the credit card company.
  • Collect any pay stubs.
  • Find your federal and state tax returns for the past three years.

Following these steps to take when preparing for divorce will help you identify which assets you can use immediately. The documentation helps your divorce lawyer understand your financial situation and what assets you are likely to keep after the divorce. A full financial picture also helps your lawyer understand what documentation she needs to demand from your husband.

Prioritize the Financial Steps to Take When Preparing for Divorce

Your attorney will help you to prepare financially by prioritizing your finances in the short term and the long term. In the short-term, the lawyer will help you seek child support while the divorce is being resolved and temporary alimony so that you have appropriate funds to resolve the divorce issues fairly.

In the long-term, the lawyer will fight to help you keep the marital home, keep any business that you have, seek long-term or rehabilitative alimony, and help ensure that you receive a strong equitable distribution settlement or award. Any child support award will be based on your income and your husband’s income. If you have taken the proper steps to prepare for your divorce, most of these things will usually go smoothly.

Factors That Reduce Expenses During Divorce

You should expect that your spouse will fight aggressively for their share of any income and assets. For that reason, the financial steps to take when preparing for a divorce are crucial. The stronger and clearer your financial situation is during the divorce, the better you are able to contest your spouse’s financial demands.

The good news is that there are ways to level the financial playing field during the divorce. Our skilled lawyers help you obtain the temporary alimony and temporary child support you need. We also explain that there are less expensive alternatives to litigation. Many divorces are resolved through negotiation, mediation, or collaboration. All these methods are cheaper and faster than contested trials.

A key factor during the divorce is whether you and your spouse are living together or apart. Living together is less expensive but living apart may be better emotionally for both spouses.

At DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law, our divorce lawyers are experts in the steps to take when preparing for a divorce and will fight to ensure your financial future. We guide you through the practical issues of paying your bills during the divorce and will seek temporary orders to stabilize your finances while the divorce is pending. We can assess your full financial situation and goals – and your spouse’s full financial situation. Many divorces are resolved amicably and fairly.

Understand your rights. Call us at 908-691-2104 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Clinton and Morristown.

Erin D. DeGeorge
Erin D. DeGeorge joined DeTorres & DeGeorge, LLC as partner to the firm in June of 2010. Prior to joining DeTorres & DeGeorge, Erin was associated with the national firm of Fox Rothschild LLP and Cutler, Simeone, Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, LLC...
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